I thoroughly enjoyed reading the draft New Roles for the Road Ahead manuscript this morning. Your collective description and analysis of the current ecosystem offers fresh insights, both deep and broad, that places academic library organizations’ circumstances within the larger contexts of scholarly communications and higher education. Well done.I now anticipate reading Betsy Wilson’s forthcoming leadership section. My comment arises after reading Steven Bell’s description of a typical day in the life of an engaged library profession immersed in abundant professional development experiences. The challenge, of course, is to ensure adequate reasoning (meaning making) about the content.So I hope that discussion of leadership in the final section includes the topic of designing organizations and workplace practices that enable individual, group, and organizational ‘sense making’ for nimble and responsive decision making in the years ahead. As Bell astutely notes, “with more options comes more confusion” (p. 116) on the road ahead.Finally, I offer a suggestion about enriching the reader experience. While I thoroughly enjoyed each essay and felt topics flowed naturally, I found the boundaries harsh. So I would enjoy seeing a contextualizing preface added to the manuscript and also preceding the sections – perhaps written by Nancy Allen who, serving as editor, enjoys an overview perspective.Mary M Somerville
Thanks for the suggestions, Mary. I hate to suggest that Nancy do more because she contributed so much already to this work (you have no idea…) but I agree that we haven’t really explained or provided context for how this set of essays might work for readers. We agreed on an outline, we divvied up the sections, but each of us has a different style and is coming from a different place. The introductions to sections are meant to provide some kind of overview, but we didn’t hammer them out together so I can see how much each piece may seem a bit disconnected from its neighbors. (In fact, I haven’t printed out and read this in the linear fashion that seem more natural on paper, so I think my own reader geography is a bit different than it will be when I see it all in one document with sequential pages. In many ways, this is typical of US academic libraries – so varied, with so much local flavor and independence that it’s hard to see the road (or roads) ahead in a way that makes sense for academic libraries in general, perhaps more so than in countries where higher ed is more centralized and unified. Nancy was the one who helped us get (metaphorically speaking) on the same page. I’m really grateful to her for that.
Dear Barbara,Thank you for your thoughtful reply. In response, I recognize that I commented after reading a printout of the PDF, in its entirety, from front to back. So I approached the content in a fashion that may not be typical of your readership.That said, I think it would help readers to know the history of the commissioned essays. That, at least, would help me understand how to read this rich compendium of deep and broad thought. Typically an editor provides such context.Thanks.Mary
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December 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm
See in context
December 2, 2014 at 10:49 am
There are also archived webinars available on demand from several library-specific training venues such as OCLC WebJunction, Infopeople, and Florida Library.
December 2, 2014 at 10:44 am
Definitely agree, Scott. There are many advanced degrees and certificates in important fields which complement our LIS work … you’ve mentioned a few … and there are others including management, research and assessment, mentoring, instruction.
December 2, 2014 at 10:41 am
It may be a useful service for ACRL (or one of the sections) to collate the various professional development opportunities … possibly in an online calendar. I’ve been trying to do that (as I’m able) with my blog Learning Beyond (http://beyondlearning-md.blogspot.com/) and disseminating opportunities both monthly and weekly to all our employees. You write: “Despite whatever efforts administrators may make to facilitate and support professional development, it is ultimately up to each academic librarian to make a personal commitment to their own lifelong learning and professional development.” — this is the important message, and it applies to all library staff.
December 2, 2014 at 10:35 am
I would like to see more emphasis on learning how to conduct an interactive webinar, as so many of them are lecture-based, which we all know is not the best way to learn/retain info. Our librarians are becoming jaded on the webinar format even as the topics become deeper and broader and more applicable to our learning needs. This is a skill many librarians would find useful, now and in the future.
December 2, 2014 at 10:32 am
As one who has the incredible honor of being a Learning Organization Librarian responsible for developing professional development programs for our librarians, staff, and student employees, I highly value your insights on this Steven. I mentioned this article at a regional prof dev event (along with providing the Five Knowledge and Skill Areas for Assessment Librarians from the Library Assessment Conference) and it was joyfully gobbled up. The most difficult aspect of this is for librarians to ‘find the time’. I believe that it’s important to CARVE out the time because it doesn’t just magically appear. Michael Stephens has written/spoken frequently on the importance of learning always, learning everywhere. I agree with other comments that developing a ‘curriculum’ or ‘path’ for growth in major areas of librarianship might be extremely helpful.
December 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm
Oho – just realized CommentPress comments don’t come with paragraph breaks. Sorry for the longggggg comment on your comment.
December 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm
That’s a good point – perhaps it’s wrong to characterize it was lack of trust when it really is lack of a sense that they take it as seriously as we do – or think about it apart from other forms of critical thinking, analysis, and communication. But, you know? I may stick to what I’ve said because I think we try to own information literacy in ways that sometimes disenfranchises and disrespects work that is happening in courses every day. So much of the learning that happens around context, interpretation, judgement, recognzing the various forms sources take and why they take those forms – isn’t being done under the tutalage of librarians. We have been saying for decades that we need to collaborate but often that’s framed as a kind of power relationship rather than actually pooling our knowledgebases and experiences. As you point out, the first year experience is a place where faculty have to step back and retool and often they discover – holy cow! I had no idea we had these resources or that students confronted by 1,000 scholarly articles found in a search can’t use the strategies faculty use to zero in on the good stuff because they simply haven’t got the background knowledge or the sensitivity to contextual cues. Anyway, thanks for the comment and I’ll give this further thought…
November 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm
“professional development is deeply embedded into our practice” — and, indeed, is one way we as a profession embody and enact the “lifelong learning” we encourage in those we teach.
November 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm
I’m not sure the claim “we don’t entirely trust faculty” toward the end of this paragraph is 100% accurate, though I suppose it is a statement based in personal observation making “accuracy” less useful in this context. In a recent Twitter convo about librarians’ self-claimed expertise in IL, I proposed that it was more that the library department/information literacy program on any given campus is likely to be the only academic unit on campus that is *prioritizing* in a deliberate, intentional manner the development in students of what we know as IL knowledge, skills, and dispositions, with the only other contender in my mind being the First-Year Writing program. I don’t think a lack of trust is the issue so much as librarians having the resources (time and in some ways training–I shocked myself in a recent meeting with a faculty collaborater by having meaningful, useful ideas about how to improve a rubric we were developing together to assess IL in student work, ideas which were both new to and welcomed by my collaborator) that faculty in the disciplines don’t have to highlight for students and faculty alike how IL is woven into the work they are often already doing within a given course.